„Was verstehen Sie unter Klassenkampf?“ Wissensproduktion und Disziplinierung im Kontext des „Radikalenerlasses“

The 1972 “Radikalenerlass” (decree against radicals) aimed at keeping members of communist groups out of West Germany’s civil service, mainly targeting prospective school teachers. This article understands the decree as an “incitement to discourse” (Foucault) and examines various instances of knowledge production, taking the Bremen school administration as its example. The knowledge about “radicals” was in turn used not only to prevent individual candidates from becoming teachers, but also in multiple attempts to discipline the already employed teaching staff—not only by the administration, but by parents, media and politicians as well. The author makes a case for shifting the focus of attention from individual cases of “Berufsverbot” to ongoing practices of disciplining, arguing the decree should be understood less as a conflict between individuals and “the state” than as an aspect of the history of surveillance and social (self-)regulation.

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